Archive for May, 2010

“Candidate’s Words Differ From His History” (TIMES, 5/18/10)

May 24, 2010

          “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels,” is a quote that can’t be repeated enough in the present-day United States. 

          I am an American citizen by birth and a second generation veteran of the armed forces. My U.S.-born father (serial #3194972) served in the Second Pioneer Infantry of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I and was stationed at Chaumont, France, where he probably unloaded supply trains, but was never “in the trenches.” 

          After basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, I (U.S. 51307256) served with the 25th Signal Battalion at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. On active duty from March 11, 1954 to March 9, 1956, I am officially a Korean War veteran, though I never went anywhere near that country.

          Though a staunch New Deal Democrat who despised the more conservative Republican Party, in great part because of the Bonus Army Incident (June 1932), my father was patriotic and a member of the American Legion. I remember him standing at ramrod attention while the “Stars Spangled Banner” was sung at Ebbets Field during my first visit there.

          Now, when “God Bless America” is sung during the seventh inning stretch, I turn off the television. When I used to go to Dodger Stadium, my son and I would stand to sing “Take Me Out To The BallGame” in as rousing voices as we could muster.

          I am an American; I am NOT a patriot. Patriotism is a matter of choice. It is a sanitized word for nationalism and the latter can be a serious problem wherever it raises its head.

          I realize that there are a lot of decent Americans who identify themselves as patriots but there are also too many phonies who wave the flag to advance their own selfish agendas.

          Patriotism/Nationalism is also a barrier to a rational world order. Social, political and economic harmony will be impossible as long as this way of thinking holds the dominant position that it maintains now.

          PATRIOTISM IS THE LAST REFUGE OF SCOUNDRELS.

“Despite Doubts, U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring” (TIMES, 5/16/10)

May 17, 2010

          How is it possible that top U.S. military officials “have continued to rely on a secret network of private spies” like Duane Clarridge and Michael D. Furlong?

          There was a story about these two adventurers in the 3/15/10 issue of the TIMES. This sounds like a job for the secretary of defense.

          Now that the shadow presidency is gone, a legitimate administration should know how to do the right thing.

          Get those creeps out of there!

“U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits” & “Doubts Are Raised on Accuracy of Government’s Spill Estimate” (TIMES, 5/14/10)

May 17, 2010

          In view of the latest revelations about the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the negligence of government agencies in supervising the situation, a problem that can be traced back to the shadow presidency of 2001-2009, shouldn’t that secret meeting “Vice-president” Cheney had with representatives of the energy industry early in 2001 be made public?

          Why isn’t Dick Cheney being investigated? Surely, he could throw light on how big oil companies evade supervision. It sounds like all kinds of regulations have been disregarded by the oil companies, enough so that a law suit should have been filed against them by this time.

         What is holding back righteous Democratic Party leaders? The shadow presidency is gone; Uncle Dick is retired. Can’t somebody do something to get to the bottom of this mess in the Gulf of Mexico?

A.O. Scott Film Review of the latest Robin Hood movie

May 17, 2010

         Robin Hood, the popular English yeoman-outlaw, was most likely active during the reign of King Edward II (1307-1327) and his popularity was based solely on stealing from the rich and challenging the powerful.

          Over the centuries this class hero’s story was falsified to make him, in one way or another, a national hero. He was neither a noble nor a crusader and his band of outlaws, 140 at their greatest strength, fought on foot. The longbow was the weapon of the yeoman (i.e., commoners) which played a decisive role in English military victories over the French.

          The probable story of this class hero would be far more interesting than the one Hollywood has been broadcasting over the decades, but somewhat subversive. Certainly, class heroes would be discouraged in this day and age by the many patriots in our midst.

“Obama Reassures Karzai…” (TIMES, 5/13/10)

May 17, 2010

         Chiang Kai-Shek, Syngman Rhee and Ngo Dinh Diem must be laughing in their graves as another U.S. president “steers clear of worrisome topics.”

          Mr. President, it is like this: former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created a quagmire and you have been squirming in the muck since you took office. GET OUT, GET OUT, as fast as you can!

         Sit down with some honest people, including from the military, who are not solely motivated by advancing their careers or securing post-retirement positions with some defense industry.

          What is needed NOW, with no further delay, is an EXIT STRATEGY. If Afghanistan can actually “be saved” (whatever that means), it will have to be under the direction of a United Nations functioning  at full throttle (i.e., not in the shadow of Jesse Helms).

          The USA cannot do the job, not with a shadow presidency, not with you “in charge,” not by an American tsar (e.g., David Petraeus).

         1051 American service members already died as a part of the Afghan war, another 4388 in Iraq. Though this mess is not your doing, if you persist in this foolish effort much longer, you will share the blame and suffer the consequences.

          You want an exit strategy for Afghanistan and Iraq. Send Hamid Karzai packing and damn the hawks in your entourage!

“Sex & Drugs & the Spill”by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 5/10/10)

May 10, 2010

          Yes, Paul Krugman is correct in his observation that we have had a “degraded government” for a long time (especially during the shadow presidency of 2001-2009) and that “anti-government ideology” has “wrought havoc” in the USA.

          A good remedy for such a situation would be an active government which serves the needs of the American people. The Democratic government of Franklin D. Roosevelt did that, especially after winning big in the congressional elections of 1934.

          Is the present Obama government waiting for a big victory in this year’s election before it implements the second New Deal this country needs?

 

“U.S Shows Surprising Gain in Jobs” by Motoko Rich (TIMES BUSINESS DAY, 5/8/10)

May 10, 2010

          It used to be if somebody told an absurd story, people would discredit same by saying: “That’s rich!”

          Once again a TIMES story heading is more optimistic than warranted by the information therein. For example, though the U.S “has now added jobs for four consecutive months,” the unemployment rate “crept up to 9.9% (In April) from 9.7% in March, mostly because of a significant increase in the number of people who had previously given up deciding to look for work again.” (emphasis added)

          Then, Motoko Rich goes on to say: “The number of unemployed people actually rose slightly from March,” after which the article goes on to explain (?) that the “rise in the unemployment rate was associated with a growing  willingness by people who sat on the sidelines during the recession to once again look for work (emphasis added) as the economy picked up.” In other words, the “unemployment number went up for the right reasons.”

          Which all proves that in a “free enterprise economy,” the unemployed can go from just “sitting on the sidelines” to a situation where more of them are “reentering the labor force.”

          Maybe, by the year 2014 (a date mentioned in the piece), today’s unemployed, both those looking for work and those still sitting on the sidelines, will be gainfully employed earning a livable wage?

“Leading With Two Minds” by David Brooks (TIMES, 5/7/10)

May 10, 2010

          David Brooks, the pseudo-intellectual warmonger, continues to support the quagmires anti-intellectual Donald Rumsfeld created in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is anybody surprised?

          We are now being told by this reactionary journalist that “dual consciousness people” will beat the “bad guys.” Of course, Brooks doesn’t say how long their alternating strategy will take, nor what the casualty rate will be as the U.S. forces continue to slog around in the muck.

          Reactionaries like Brooks are never in a hurry  to solve problems. For such deep-thinking (!) pundits, there is always plenty of time. Moreoever, the people who advocate military policies that make sense (e.g., an exit strategy), are quickly denounced as virtual traitors by the war party and their media supporters. “Moderate conservative” Brooks wouldn’t want to be called a traitor.

          Has Brooks ever interviewed Eric Shinseki, the onetime Army chief-of-staff who had the courage to question Rumsfeld’s misguided strategy?

“Election Victories Help Kurds in Iraq Push for More Sovereignty” (TIMES, 5/3/10)

May 3, 2010

          How long will it take for Iraq to divide into three separate countries? Or, will the United States keep troops there to prevent that from happening? Is that the reason the USA will leave 30,000-50,000 troops in Iraq after the withdrawal deadline?

          Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia broke up into smaller, more pliable, states and the damage there is still being assessed. Now the New World Order may be overseeing the breakup of Iraq. Will Afghanistan be next?

          When the Nazis did this sort of thing, as they implemented their new order, it was roundly denounced as aggression.

          When will the TIMES alert its readers as to what is going on?

“Consumers Give Boost to Economy” by Catherine Rampell (TIMES, 5/1/10)

May 3, 2010

          Catherine Rampell’s article in Business Day is the all too familiar fare of business reporting; i.e., the story headline is far more optimistic than the content of the article.

          The significant statement of the piece appears early: “the expansion… has not delivered the level of hiring needed to recover the ground lost during the” downturn (which is ultimately identified as a “Great Recession”).

          Moreover, “the economy is simply not growing fast enough to make a big dent in unemployment” and “Unless the pace of growth picks up significantly, we will see high unemployment (emphasis added) for years to come.”

          All the News That’s Fit to Print has to cut the doubletalk, even in the business section of the newspaper. The fact is the USA is still not in a recovery.